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My Grandma passed away at the age of 94. She was a wonderful cook and I was lucky enough to inherit her recipes. Many date back to the 1940s and 50s. Grandma prepared them in a charming country kitchen with no running water and most of her produce came from her garden, not from the grocery store. These are made-from-scratch recipes. I wish I had spent more time with her in the kitchen and . . . I wish I had spent more time with her for so many other reasons.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

Are you overwhelmed with zucchini from your garden?  Are you looking for a tasty way to use it up without letting it go to waste?  Here is your answer.

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 lb of zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 4 x 9" loaf pans, either coating with butter or spraying with baking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.

Beat the eggs in a mixer (or by hand) until frothy.  Beat in the sugar.  Beat in the melted butter and olive oil.  Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation.

Divide batter/dough into two loaf pans.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes.  Test after 40 minutes.  If you gently press down on the surface of the loaf, it should bounce back, and a bamboo skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven.  Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from their pan to cool on a rack.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vanilla Chip Bundt Cake

Looking for a yummy dessert for friends or family?  Make this bundt cake for your next gathering.  It will become a frequently requested dessert.  It's rich and delicious!

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just to moisten.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.

Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into greased and floured 12-cup bundt pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto wire rack.  Cool completely.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with a mixture of 2 cups confectioner's sugar and 3 Tbsp milk.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grandma's Green Bean Casserole

Onions for Topping
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp bread crumbs  (I like to use Panko - she didn't have that luxury)
1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
1 lb fresh green beans (rinsed, trimmed, and halved)
2 Tbsp butter
12 oz mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine the onions, flour, bread crumbs and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.  Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan.  Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.  toss the onions 2 - 3 times during cooking.  Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until they are ready to use.  Turn the oven down to 400 degrees.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans.  Bring a gallon of water and 2 Tbsp of salt to a boil in and 8-quart saucepan.   Add the beans and blanch for 4 minutes.  Drain in a colander and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12" cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, 1 tsp salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 - 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute.  Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half.  Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately6 - 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans.  top with the remaining onions.  Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grandma's Colorful Potato Salad

Grandma had lots of hot weather favorites, and this was one of them.  Give this a try this week as we try to get through this heat wave.

1 lb russet potatoes, cubed
1 lb sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp grated lime peel
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water in large saucepan.  cook potatoes 10 minutes or until they are fork-tender.  (Do not overcook)  Drain well.  Cool slightly.

Combine oil, lime peel, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, ginger, salt and nutmeg in large bowl until well blended.  Add potatoes; toss to coat well.  Gently stir in celery, onions and pecans.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grandma's Mashed Potatoes

4 lbs potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp chopped chives

Put potatoes into a large pot, add bay leaf, 2 Tbs salt, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain them well and remove the bay leaf.  Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan.  Mash the potatoes with a masher.  Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in chives before serving.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yeast Rolls

1 envelope Active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 cup scalding hot milk
1 egg (lightly beaten)
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp melted butter to brush rolls

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water.  Stir until yeast dissolves.  Add sugar, the 1/4 cup butter and salt to hot milk and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter is melted.  Cool mixture to 105 - 115 degrees.  Add milk mixture to yeast, then beat in egg.  Beat in 4 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a soft sough.  Use some of the remaining flour to dust a pastry cloth.  Knead the dough lightly for 4 minutes, working in the remaining flour (use it for flouring the pastry cloth and your hands).  Place dough in a warm buttered bowl; turn greased side up.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.  Punch dough down and knead 4 -5 minutes on a lightly floured pastry cloth.  Dough will be sticky, but use as little flour as possible for flouring your hands and the pastry cloth, otherwise the rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be.  Pinch off small chunks of dough and shape into round rolls about 1 1/2  to 1 3/4" in diameter.  Place in neat rows, not quite touching, in a well-buttered 13 x 9 x 2" pan.  cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 - 40  minutes.  Brush tops of rolls with melted butter, then bake in a 375 degree oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until nicely browned.  Serve warm and with plenty of butter.  This recipe yields about 2 dozen rolls.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes (unpeeled)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 garlic cloves (minced)
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut potatoes into wedges.  Combine potato wedges, oil, rosemary, garlic, and salt in large bowl.  Toss to coat.

Pour potato wedges onto baking sheet.  Bake 12 - 15 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and turn wedges over.
Bake another 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July - 2011


I read P. Allen Smith's blog tonight and he wrote about 10 things that inspired him about America.  That really got me thinking about what truly inspires me about our country.

1.  Our soldiers and their families who endure great lengths of time away from one another, and then struggle to readjust to life back at home as a family.  Our society doesn't make that easy.  God bless them for their willingness to give themselves so selflessly.

2.  Yellowstone National Park - such a beautiful place, and so full of the wonders of nature.  Where else will you find geysers, mud pots, hot springs, Earthquake Lake, and so many other thermal wonders?  I was there as a teenager, and sure hope to get back there to see it again one day.  We saw Glacier Lake that same trip.  What a beautiful place that is!

3.  Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the Bad Lands in South Dakota.  It's an interesting place to visit for people like me who are intrigued by rocks!  Nearby, you'll find Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

4.  My parents inspire me.  Both were school teachers for all of their adult lives.  Now that they've retired, they continue to work with young people.  Mom tutors "youngsters" of all ages at her business, "Project Excel".  Dad is the head librarian at the New Windsor Library.  Mom coordinates the best VBS in the country (in my opinion) for Calvary Lutheran Church in New Windsor, and Dad always volunteers to teach a class.  There aren't many people in this world that will devote themselves to the education of children.

5. My kids inspire me.  They each had difficulties in school.  Two were ADD kids (struggling with distractibility issues) and the other struggled with a serious reading disability.  School was not easy for any of them, yet they let me push them to be the best they could be and all three have high school diplomas.  One has begun work on a college degree and the other two will begin in the fall.  I couldn't be more proud!

6.  Dr. H. Farouk Sadiq, and Kathy S. in the NICU at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital are truly angels on this earth.  I cannot say enough good things about them or our experience at Cardinal Glennon as our newest grandson, Liam, was treated for Premature Lung Disease there.  They truly love kids and it shows in everything they do.  Their knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed.  My wish for you is that if you ever find yourself in need of treatment for a sick youngster, you'll find the wonderful compassionate people of Cardinal Glennon.  They are angels indeed!

7.  The Smoky Mountains - oh, what a beautiful part of our country!  The clouds hang over the mountains and there are waterfalls to be found amongst the mountains.  There are trails to hike and animals to be found in the wild.  Gorgeous scenery and not far from most of the population in our country.

8.  Food - we have access to every kind of food, every single day in this country.  Our grocery stores stock local produce when it's in season, but they stock produce from every part of the world year round just so we are able to eat what we choose year round.  Amazing!

9.  Work - Even in the worst American economy in decades, we are still able to find employment.  I thank God that all of our family members are employed.  Katy and I work for a great family centered company.  Paul works for a company that struggles, but continues to provide him a good place to work.  Luke works for Lowe's and Emma will return to Dierbergs after her maternity leave.  I can't say enough about how kind the people at Dierbergs have been to Emma during her pregnancy.  What a great company!

10.  My grandchildren - what a fabulous inspiration to continue to be healthy and love life!  One child is no more special than the next, but each new baby reminds us to become more healthy so we are still here to enjoy school plays, ballgames, graduations, and weddings.  I can't wait to experience all of it!!!